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Lead Poisoning – Do you know how to protect your kids?

What is Lead?

Lead is a dense, heavy metal and very toxic. Lead poisoning poses a severe health threat to young children under the age of 6. Our bodies confuse calcium and lead and will store it in your bones permanently. High exposure can even lead to death. Lower levels of exposure will cause symptoms easily confused for other problems.

There are no safe levels of lead in the body.

Lead Poisoning Symptoms

  • Developmental Delay
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Learning problems
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperactive
  • Memory loss

And a host of other conditions. If your child has any of these conditions would you automatically suspect lead? Of course not! Lead symptoms can be subtle, so to stay clear, you have to be aware.

Where does lead show up?

1. Paints

While most countries have placed a ban on using lead paints, others have not. In countries where lead in paints is banned lead can still be found in older buildings.

2. From old pipes in houses:

Similarly to number 1, if you have an older home old pipes can still contain lead. The United States Congress banned the use of lead in household pipes back in the eighties. However, there are a lot of houses on the market built before that time. You can use a water filtration system to remove lead from your water.

3. From water treatment plants

It’s scary to think how little control we have about this, but even if your house is brand spanking new you water isn’t safe from lead. If you get city water additives to the water can contain lead. Although regulations in some countries reduce the risk, it is not unheard of for that to happen.

4. Dusty Homes

If you work in construction or encounter lead while outside the home your shoes and clothes might contain lead dust. Lead can also be in the soil so bringing in dirt from outside can increase the lead inside your home. Keeping your house clean will reduce the contact of lead via dust in your home.

5. From Food

Vegetables and fruit grown in lead-contaminated soil can also be contaminated with lead. You should thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables before consuming. Some canned food may also be contaminated with lead.

6. From Imported Products

Some imported products may contain lead such as products made from vinyl material.

Ways to reduce exposure to lead

1. Screen your children regularly

One of the most obvious things you can do if you are concerned about past exposure is to screen your kids. It varies from country to country or even from city to city. Contact a health professional if you are concerned about your child’s previous exposure to lead. Health professionals will also give you more guidance on how to prevent lead poisoning.

2. Do a home analysis

Is your home built before 1978, or do you spend time in a building made before this time? If not you are probably ok from coming into contact with lead paint. If you do have paint in your home from the house was built then it’s probably time to get rid of it. However, you should get a trained professional to get rid of the paint. You don’t want to attempt this yourself.

If you are buying a new home, please don’t skimp on the inspection. If lead testing is not standard, then pay the extras to get the house checked out. It may not prevent you from buying the home, but at least you know where the risk is, and you can plan to fix it later.

3. Filter your water

With and without lead a water filter is justified. Besides lead filters can remove a bunch of other toxins from your water. Not all water filters will remove lead, however, so pay attention to the fine print. You should also use cold water for cooking because lead is more easily absorbed into warm water.

4. Be careful where you buy toys

I am not trying to knock overseas companies and people trying to make a living. But buying cheap toys from overseas directly can expose your child to lead and other toxicities as you can bypass all the quality requirements from a proper import.

5. Be careful of some natural remedies

Yes, I am an all natural supporter. It is the basis of this entire website. However, even caution must be used when using natural products. Clay-based products can contain lead. There are alternate kinds of toothpaste made entirely from clays that contain lead and isn’t suitable for young children. Observe the warnings on these products, whether natural or not.

6. Lead Bullets

This may not need to be said but young children know no boundaries when it comes to what goes in their mouth. Keep bullets away from them. Choking is one hazard but lead is also another.

7. Pottery

The glaze that is used t seal ceramic pottery is often made with lead. Not only is this a risk for children but for the potter as well.

8. Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies comes from plants, which comes from soil. Soil can be contaminated with lead. For countries with little to no regulation on herbal products, the risk of lead contamination is great. For others you need to still ensure that your source is reliable.

Frequently asked questions about Lead

Short term lead exposure may show no symptoms but long term symptoms include the following:

  • Exhaustion
  • Diminished Appetite
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability
  • Problems with your hearing

At home lead blood tests are not recommended. If you suspect that exposure to lead is possible, please contact your doctor as soon as possible to order a blood test.

Lead treatment can be invasive and not something to be attempted at home. The only at home treatment is prevention. Lead poisoning is treated professionally by one of the following ways:

  1. Irrigation of Bowels: The patient is given large amounts of solution to cleanse the bowel
  2. Chelation: Medication is given to the patient that will bond to lead and promote passing into a bowel movement
  3. Gastric Lavage: The stomach is cleansed by inserting a pump through the throat

Contact the poison control for your area. The American Association of Poison Center number is: (800) 222-1222

Specifically for adults, additional lead poisoning symptoms are listed below:

  • A decrease in sperm volume
  • Miscarriage
  • Gout
  • Fertility issues

Yes, exposure to lead can kill you. However, the exposure will need to be very high levels to be fatal.

If you know an exposure did happen, call the poison control center in your local area immediately. In the United States, this number is: The American Association of Poison Center number is: (800) 222-1222. You can also search the web for 'poison control in [your area].' If you are not in the United States and there is no poison control center, you will need to go to the hospital immediately and tell them what happened. 

Finally

Lead like most toxins is found in everyday places. If you do your due diligence to reduce or remove what you can, then let your body do the rest. Lead is one of those things our bodies can confuse for calcium; however, if you reduce your risk to almost zero by being aware and taking the proper steps then you should be ok. Live life, be happy!

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Niki
Author: Niki

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